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Larger than life

A heartfelt thanks to all who came out to Dusty's last Thursday to help celebrate the life and times of Shane McConkey, skiing's most influential star. As skiers, we are all in some way indebted to him and his zest for the sport.

A heartfelt thanks to all who came out to Dusty's last Thursday to help celebrate the life and times of Shane McConkey, skiing's most influential star. As skiers, we are all in some way indebted to him and his zest for the sport. He'll be missed but never forgotten.

Particular thanks to Shane and Amanda Szocs for their dedicated organizing and awesome retro-wear - McConkey would have been proud.

I'd also like to shout out to all those who donated money and auction items - like K2 and McConkey's brother George - as about $4K was ultimately raised for McConkey's family.

Kudos to the Hairfarmers for throwing down, adding another event to their frenetic schedule, and thoughtfully choosing songs that fit the occasion. (I noticed.)

Finally, I would like to mention the awesome and spontaneous show of support from Blackcomb Helicopters - with whom Shane had often flown - as well as explain to those who witnessed it what this was. At 7:45 p.m. we were all outside on the deck as three choppers in formation swooped in out of the murk, their running lights blazing. As they passed, two aircraft peeled off and disappeared up valley with their lights on while one heli remained hovering ominously in front of the crowd with lights off. In military parlance this is a Lost Soldier salute. It was incredibly poignant, generous, heartfelt and much appreciated by all. We apologize that explanation somehow slipped the minds of the inebriated MCs at the time.

Judging by the party that ensued, however, we also know that none of you were too worried about it.

Thanks again everyone, and thank you Shane McConkey for making my life a richer one.

Leslie Anthony


Let the people decide

I have to agree with Doug Player's comments about the budget. Council and the municipality seem to be completely divorced from reality.

I quote from their response to comments on the municipality's "chat-room" about the budget: "A line by line budget is not provided to the public, because it would be unfeasible for the members of the public to interpret it. Preparing the budget involves 72 people from across the organization, budgeting for their areas. As a matter of scale, the 2008 municipal budget included 2,883 line items."

I for one am insulted that it would be "unfeasible" for me to interpret it. Publish it and let "the public" decide! Perhaps we could start the savings by losing some of the 72 people who have been working on the budget! Unfortunately, without strong management, these are the people least likely to propose cuts in their own areas.

I have asked the municipality on several occasions what proportion of property taxes are paid by those who (because they are not Canadian residents) cannot vote. I have never received an answer. I believe this to be a very high proportion (50 per cent +), and because council does not have to answer to these taxpayers they feel able to do as they please.

There should be "no taxation without representation!" How much effort was made to contact foreign homeowners about their feelings on the property taxes?

John Fildes


More alphabet soup

Loved the alphabet soup. Here are a few thoughts on the ABCs of B.C.

F is for false majority, the typical result of our current electoral system. Presently, 40 per cent of voters get to impose 100 per cent of their preferences on the rest of us. With STV, about 80 per cent of us will be represented in the legislature.

D is definitely not for democracy with first past the post.

S is for sophistication, not complication. Who can explain how in 2001 each 12,000 votes for one party got one seat but it took 172,000 votes for another party to get one seat, and nearly 200,000 other voters got no seat at all? STV is sophisticated because it doesn't waste votes, it transfers them to ensure that the vast majority of us are represented.

Y is a resounding yes to STV. While your notes question both sides of the debate, they reminisce of the global warming debate - giving equal media coverage to a very unequal reality. The Citizen's Assembly that recommended STV - 161 men and women randomly chosen from all walks of life who spent a year learning, debating, and consulting - voted 80 per cent in favour of STV over an alternative electoral system. They voted 93 per cent against retaining our current system, and 95 per cent in favour of STV. And 58 per cent of British Columbians across the province voted yes to STV in 2005 - perhaps the greatest expression of political preference ever in the country.

Chris Joseph


Why STV?

I cannot understand why anyone can advocate STV, as does the government-appointed Assembly, the Provincial Government itself and this newspaper.

STV, like the current system, does not give proportional representation in any way. Why we are not having a truly proportional system where 30 per cent of the vote for a party gets 30 per cent of the seats and 5 per cent of the vote gets 5 per cent of the seats, which is what we could reasonably expect when the government said they were going for reform? Why they went for an alternative voting idea makes no sense.  How could anyone want their vote transferred to another party for which they did not vote?

What we have is not a provincial vote but a riding vote wherein we are not voting for a person but a party. Each candidate is running under the party name and votes the party way in the legislature. Under the proposed system in a three-candidate riding one would naturally vote for the three candidates of their political choice. Each clearly marked with an X, but good luck getting them counted for their choices again on the shuffling alternate recount.

This constant referendum is wrong. Why did the assembly and the government not consider the system in place in Scandinavia and many other places in Europe where it works very well?  When do we get an opportunity to vote for proportional representation?

Terry Smith

Garibaldi Highlands

Grateful Down Under

Last November my daughter began working hiring out ski gear in the local shop at Whistler. It is her first extended absence from home and via the excited phone calls and e-mail messages back to Australia she has told of the wonderful time she is having. She speaks of the kind hospitality and warmth of the locals who have made her feel at home and what a beautiful country Canada is.

We miss her very much and look forward to her coming home. But to the people of Whistler, thank you from a grateful Dad for taking care of her for the last six months and providing her with a lifetime of memories.

Terry Southall

Bannockburn, Australia

Thanks for my life!

On the morning of March 25th I went up Whistler Mountain to enjoy some of the fresh powder. After having a powder run on Glacier Bowl, I went back up Peak Chair, skied Peak to Creek as it was in excellent shape thanks to great grooming and 1 cm of fresh snow, then went back up, taking a short break at Raven's Nest.

Coming out of Raven's Nest, I started to feel nauseous and sat on the stairs. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by Ski Patrol, hooked up to an IV and heart monitor/defibrillator and they kept telling everybody to “stand clear!” (They never had to shock me.)

Within 40 minutes I was on my way to the clinic by helicopter, where I was given more IV drugs. Then sent off to Vancouver General by Air Ambulance (actually enjoying the view).

In Vancouver General I was soon given an Angiogram, then Angioplasty to put a stent in a 90 per cent blocked artery. Two days later a stent was placed in another artery that was 80 per cent blocked. I was released on Saturday and am now back in Whistler recuperating.

As it turned out, I couldn't have picked a better place to have a heart attack (except in a hospital). A big thanks to: Cathy Jewett and the Whistler Patrol, Dr. Kendall and the emergency staff at the Whistler Medical Clinic, The B.C. Air Ambulance crew, Dr. Ricci and the staff at the Cardiac Care Centre of Vancouver General. And also to my wife Vivien and daughter Sara for spending three nights in Vancouver.

Cliff Jennings


Bus pains

Can you think of creative ways to be late to work?

A: Hangover from Mojo's Glow Party.

B: Having wisdom teeth out.

C: Slip on the ice, and sprain ankle.

D: Pay $55 a month to get the bus.

See if you can spot the most painful way to be late to work.

If the public transport system fails, then so does the town.

James Lawther


Another trailer vote

I'd like to thank Chris Marks for voicing his concern over the lack of affordable accommodation/greedy landlords, that plague this town ( Pique letters April 2). It seems like we are the only people fed up enough about this issue to write about it.

After "sharing a shoebox" for two months at the start of the winter, I have been grateful enough to sublet a room off a friend who left town for one month. I then was offered a room to rent in Pemberton for this month, all the while still searching for "affordable accommodation." That word is such a joke.

The people working on the front lines are the ones that actually make this town run. Those are the servers, the cooks, the hotel staff, the coffee shop girl, the bartender, the guy who fits your ski boots, etc. The majority of these people are also rent payers. If we can't afford to live in this town, this town doesn't run.

My favorite option is packing 15 people into a four-bedroom house. That's always real fun. Plus, $6,000 a month divided by 15 is only $400 each.

I think a lot of the problem comes from the term "affordable accommodation" and how loosely it is used these days. Rainbow development was billed as "affordable accommodation starting at $600,000." Since when is $600K affordable? To be honest, for 1/3 of the price, I'd be more keen to build a trailer park in Whistler... but like that would ever be allowed to happen.

Please, I beg of you, if you are interested in renting to a hard working, respectful, nine-year Whistlerite with excellent references, please do not hesitate to contact me. If I can't be reached, I too, will be posting up in a travel trailer next to Mr. Marks in Lot 3.

Ryan McKeeman


Now it's Canada's turn

Lush Cosmetics would like to thank everyone for their fantastic support of our campaign to end the Canadian seal hunt.

While our efforts in North America have just begun, we have some good news to report - the Russian government has just announced a ban on the hunting of all harp seals less than one year old, condemning the slaughter as the "killing of defenseless animals." The Minister of Natural Resources said the move is a "serious step towards the conservation of biodiversity in Russia."

Now the world's eyes turn to Canada to take similar action. Millions of Canadians oppose the hunt and our customers have been moved to action when hearing that seal pups, some as young as 12 days old, are clubbed to death or shot, usually for their fur. Seal hunters move fast, killing as many animals as possible in a short amount of time, and independent veterinarians say that many seals may be still conscious when they are being skinned.

Gandhi once said that the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. We couldn't agree more.

Brandi Halls

LUSH Cosmetics


Bald is Beautiful!

Balding for Dollars Whistler is another HUGE success! The seventh annual Balding for Dollars event in Whistler has come and gone - and Whistler has been taken by storm with another 15 bald heads! Organized by Whistler Friends, the event once again drew a huge crowd to the GLC on Sunday afternoon, and kept the clippers of the Blackcomb Barber Shop busy. The participants raised a total of $9,658, bringing our seven-year total to $128,397. One-hundred per cent of funds raised go to support children with Cancer at B.C. Children's Hospital. We are totally blown away by the continued generosity of Whistler's residents and guests, even in these tough financial times.

The Blackcomb Barber Shop, Walsh Restoration, The GLC, The Whistler Question , and Mountain FM are to be recognized for their contributions to the fundraiser. Year after year these sponsors help to make this event a huge success.

Thanks Whistler for your ongoing support and continuing to make a difference in the lives of kids battling cancer and blood disorders.

Continuing the tradition, Balding for Dollars will be back in Whistler in 2010, looking to continue raising funds and awareness for kids with cancer.  See you then!

Dave and Wendy Clark

Whistler Friends


Remembering Neil

Neil Falkner's family and friends would like to thank Whistler and Pemberton businesses for their continuing support of the Neil Falkner Outward Bound Scholarship Fund. On Friday, April 3 rd , we held the Fifth Annual Swing Dance Fundraiser and Silent Auction in Vancouver and it was a huge success. The Silent Auction alone took in over $2,500 thanks in part to donations from Whistler Blackcomb, Ziptrek Ecotours, Adventure Ranch in Pemberton, Whistler Golf Club, Whistler River Adventures, and Funhog Wares. Their support makes it possible to maintain two scholarships per year to send teenage youth from East Vancouver and the Whistler/Pemberton region on life challenging Outward Bound Wilderness Programs.

The Swing Dance event just keeps on getting better and its increasing popularity is very heartwarming for all of us who loved Neil and are dedicated to making his appreciation of B.C.'s mountains, wilderness, and the environment, possible for deserving young people in our East Vancouver and Sea to Sky communities, with the help of individual and business supporters from the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast and Sea to Sky. Since 2003, 10 young people have experienced these challenging and life enhancing 17-21 day Outward Bound Programs in Neil's memory. Here's hoping some of the Whistler crowd can join us in April 2010 to dance to our big band sound and help build Neil's legacy.

Judy Lynne (mother of Neil Falkner)


Grads appreciate the support

On behalf of Whistler Secondary's grad class of 2009 we would like to thank everyone who helped make our fashion show possible. We greatly appreciate each person's contribution and enthusiasm. We would like to make a special thank you to all the businesses who lent their time and merchandise to us. Their generosity, trust and help allowed for a fantastic show.

Thank you to McCoos, Le Chateau, Nike, Foot Locker, The Gap, Quicksilver, Please Mum, Cocymela and F as in Frank. Also a huge thank you to Andrew Griffiths and Rocky Mountain Sound for taking care of the technical aspect of the show. Also, thank you to Jacklyn Vanbourgondien from Lily Boutique for doing makeup and Carol Milan from The Parlor Hair Saloon for doing hair.

Of course none of this would have been possible without the leadership of Dorothy Harwood. The time and effort that she put in truly made the event. Thank you so much Dorothy, we couldn't have done it without you!


This past weekend the Whistler Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club (WBFSC) hosted the Canada Post B.C. Championships at Blackcomb Mountain. We had 120 competitors from all over the province competing in single moguls, dual moguls, big air and halfpipe. By all accounts it was a fabulous competition for athletes, parents and coaches alike.

The beautiful weather didn't hurt, but the event wouldn't have been possible without the support of numerous businesses who provided us with valuable sponsorship to help offset the costs of running such a big event. On behalf of the board of directors of the WBFSC and the province's freestyle families I send out a huge thank you to Canada Post, Whistler Blackcomb, Nesters Market, Le Chamois, Skull Candy, Oakley, Safe Start, the Great Glass Elevator and the Hilton Hotel.

These businesses went beyond the call to show their dedication to amateur sport in Whistler and around the province and for that we are extremely grateful.

We are also grateful to the fabulous and dedicated coaches of the WBFSC and all the wonderful families who make our club the best volunteer organization I've ever worked with.

Don McGregor

President, WBFSC